Last summer, Raskal Photography (more information on him in the partnership’s section) took a trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota. These trips have become an annual thing as Bryan and I have progressed more and more into the professional photographers that we are now. There was a night in particular that has really stood out. I have never considered myself an astrophotographer and even some of the most basic techniques have been foreign to me. This is mostly because of limited experience and opportunities. I always say that photography is an opportunistic art. Light pollution where I live, being a busy family man, and so many other factors have contributed to my limited experience. One night can change so much. Under perfect conditions (clear sky, warm temperatures, no moon), Bryan and I hiked around Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. We weren’t hiking for the exercise, we were exploring where we were anticipating the best angles would be for night photography later.
Once nightfall came it was literally time to learn by doing. I rotated through settings on my camera, adjusting really only my shutter to see how much exposure time I needed before I started to see the stars that my own eye couldn’t. As the night progressed, we noticed the Milky Way begin to appear from our right. Over the next two hours (don’t worry, we had good beer) it made its way upwards towards Devil’s Tower. I am now confident in my ability to anticipate timing of stars and the galaxy, I am comfortable with the settings to capture this amazing opportunity in photography, and I am appreciative of what is in our night sky.